Walking up the stairs to the Ballroom, I finally had an insight into how Cinderella must have felt; around me were the elite of the elite all gathered in their best suits and dresses. The excitement in the air was practically palpable! Unlike Cinderella’s Ball however, these people weren’t gathered to witness an example of stereotypical love but were here to witness Pride in Diversity’s annual AWEI awards and business luncheon, celebrating companies whose policies promoted equality and supported their LGBT employees.
As the luncheon started, it was clear that the various businesses gathered weren’t in attendance purely for the incredible food or the plentiful alcohol but because they truly believed in equality and in supporting their LGBT employees. What was surprising about this wasn’t how devoted these businesses were, but the number of businesses devoted to equality. Filling the ballroom were some of the most influential and successful people of Australia, representing companies and organizations that were at the top of their respective fields.
As the luncheon progressed and the awards were handed out, it was both humbling and inspiring to hear just how far these powerful companies had gone to ensure equitable treatment of all their employees. These practices alone would be enough to make anyone proud of Australian businesses, but it was the actions of one of our national banks that inspired me the most. Out of their thousands of employees, this bank chose to recognize the work and commitment of one of their lowest level employees and his passion from promoting equality both within and outside his work. What was amazing about this young man wasn’t just his passion but how his employers both supported and encouraged his commitment for promoting equality in his workplace in community.
With only a semester to go until I graduate and start working for the Catholic Education system, I know my employers are unlikely to be as supportive and encouraging of my passion for equality and inclusiveness. However, just knowing that there are others out there devoted to a cause like my own, gives me enough hope that one day I too might help in creating an education system that values and supports the lives of not only its students but its employers as well.